Collinson & Lock of London
The firm of Collinson & Lock, successors to John Herring, an upholder and cabinet maker of Fleet Street, est 1782, was established in London in the third quarter of the 19th century, firstly at their old master’s premises, and thereafter at the premises of the recently closed firm of Jackson and Graham. They quickly achieved both commercial success and a leading position in the field of design. In 1871 the firm issued an impressive illustrated catalogue of ‘Artistic Furniture’, with plates by J. Moyr Smith, assistant to Christopher Dresser, and in 1873 was trading from extensive newly built premises in St Bride Street.
The firm continued to produce very high quality items of furniture and soon began to experiment with new materials and designs, becoming especially renowned for their distinctive combinations of rosewood and ivory and their intricate Italianate arabesques,
chimeric figures and scrolling foliage. This form of decoration clearly points toward the involvement of Stephen Webb, Collinson & Locks’ chief designer who was later appointed Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art.
At the 1878 Paris Exposition universelle, opened by the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, the company was ordered, by Royal Command, to construct an ‘English cottage, and to effect its’ interior decoration, utilising their furniture, wall papers and colour schemes. This commission was overseen by Mr T. Collcut and met with great approval in all quarters. The French press called it ‘a charming little nest, providing a comfortable, intimate, and wholly desirable home.’